Portuguese Police Apologize to Madeleine McCann’s parents

Written By Manuel Poças

Sixteen years after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Praia da Luz, the Portuguese Judiciary Police flew to London to apologize to her parents for the way the investigation was conducted.

Earlier this year, a delegation of the Judiciary Police traveled to London in order to apologize, in person, to the parents of the missing child. The investigation should have been concluded years ago. However, the case remains unsolved. Sixteen years later the parents still do not know what happened.

In Portugal, the statute of limitations for the crime of homicide imposes a limit of 15 years. There can be requests for extensions, but it cannot be extended forever. After reaching the limit, with or without conceded extensions, the crime is time-barred and no further investigation can be done.

During the period of the investigation, the only plausible suspect was Christian Bruckner. The 46-year-old German national was considered a defendant in the case here in Portugal, but it did not go from there. Bruckner is currently being held by the authorities in Germany for the rape of a seventy-year-old North-American citizen, also in Praia da Luz.

According to the Public Prosecutor of Braunschweig, there is material evidence that Madeleine is dead and that the murderer is Christian Bruckner. However, 3 years after that revelation, no evidence has been shown, and no formal accusation has been made. The suspect is waiting for trial, but not for the case of Madeleine.

Bruckner will be judged for five other crimes. Apart from the North-American citizen situation, the defendant is accused of three more rapes, and the harassment of two minors, also in Algarve. One of these incidents involves an English child and Praia da Salema, which is not far from Praia da Luz.

The apologies of the Portuguese Judiciary Police had more to it than the unsolved case and missing deadlines. Inspector Gonçalo Amaral, the first to investigate the case, publicly stated that Madeleine’s parents killed her, and then staged the disappearance.

At first, he disclosed his theory to a newspaper, something for which he was removed from his position. However, later on, he published a book about it. Madeleine’s parents sued him and won with a favorable decision from the European Court of Human Rights.

The McCann’s refuse to comment. They do not reveal anything. Neither about the said material evidence, nor the apologies of the Portuguese Judiciary Police.

Even though the Portuguese Judiciary Police stopped working on the case, the German Police still is. For both forces, the only plausible, and credible, suspect is Bruckner. 

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